Last Sunday, the Bar-Ilan Student Union hosted a debate between MK Ahmad Tibi and MK Arie Eldad. This event became infamous for its final moment when a teenager spat on MK Tibi while exiting the room. This was the culmination of a very heated, intense debate between the Arab MK and a very angry audience.
Unfortunately, this debate brought out a very disturbing side of Israeli society. Heckling and shouting were merely a way to cover the real, glaring political issues that were being discussed. His accusations against the Israeli occupation and claims for sovereignty over the land were left hanging. He refused to recognize the sovereignty of the State of Israel, and boisterously supported any “Shaheid” who managed to harm Israeli citizens.
When it comes down to ideology, the Israeli politics is completely split. The Arabs, whether Israeli or Palestinian, are united in their claims: they are under a regime that occupies their land. In their eyes, they own the land, and the Jews are merely occupiers of their rightful heritage.
The Israeli political spectrum is a lot more difficult to analyze. The extreme right hasn’t let the dream of complete sovereignty over the Land of Israel go, and the moderate right has become pragmatic. The left-wing Zionist parties are willing to compromise and give land for peace, while the radical left is fixed on its utopian idea of peace, and has foisted itself into the neutral role of “peacekeeper” (rather then looking out for Israels’ best interest).
This ideological debate is demonstrated to us in a video presented by “Peace Now”, as a response to HaBayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) head Nafali Bennet’s video. This video presented a very clear plan for the West Bank: a partial annexation of Judea and Samaria. The plan calls to annex Area C, and offers all the Palestinians in that area (roughly 50,000) Israeli citizenship. The video that “Peace Now” released challenged Bennet’s plan, claiming that the only option the two-state solution.
“Peace Now” claims that we can have peace with the Palestinians, just like Israel made peace with Egypt and Jordan. What they fail to mention is that both peace agreements were approved by Muslim religious authorities (as were also the Oslo Accords). This fatwah was only made possible because of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah that Mohammad signed before he conquered Mecca. In short, Mohammad saw that he was unable conquer the city, so he chose to make a treaty. Once the people of Mecca felt a sense of security, they returned to their everyday life, disregarding the possibility of war. As a result, Mohammed took the city by surprise and conquered it. Muslims learn two lessons from this: You may make peace when you are incapable of winning, and you must wage war if possible.
“Peace Now” believes that the relative peace over the past seven years is due to Abbas. However, the real reason behind this “peace” is Abbas’ realization that in order to achieve international legitimacy, the Palestinians must be viewed as the weaker side. As victims, bombing buses is no longer an option.
According to “Peace Now,” signing an agreement will increase cooperation in Gaza. This is ridiculous; note how on Thursday, Egypt blocked a large delivery of weapons to Gaza, after both Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease fire to end Operation Pillar of Defense.
According to Bennet’s plan, a Palestinian state will draw all the 48′ refugees to Judea and Samaria (a.k.a the West Bank), while “Peace Now” claims that will not happen. The reality is, forming a Palestinian state on one side, and allowing the Arab minority to remain in Israel, does not bode well for a Jewish majority.
Both Bennet and “Peace Now” agree that annexing Judea & Samaria will lead to a bi-national state. Unfortunately, somehow, Likud members are further to the right from Habait Hayehudi. There are some Mks in the Likud (present and future) who have came out in support of this concept. Separating the region to two states, as I mentioned above, leaves us with one Arab state, and one with a large Arab minority in Israel (20%). To me that sounds a lot like a bi-national state in the making.
The Oslo Accords divided Judea and Samaria into three parts: Area A, controlled civilly and militarily by the Palestinians, Area B, controlled civilly by the Palestinians, and militarily by both the Palestinians and the Israelis, and Area C, controlled civilly and militarily by Israel, with an exception to Palestinian citizens.
Annexing Area C takes us back to the Oslo Accords. Therefore, it is crucial to understand – when you support the Bennet plan, you’re supporting the Oslo Accords in retrospect.
In his plan, Bennet offers to take away checkpoints in Area A and B, and to build new roads and bridges for the Palestinian residents. “Peace Now” raised the point that the funds required to implement his plan would be outrageous. This raises the question – how much money did Israeli governments spend over the past twenty years in order to stop the Palestinian terror, protect Israeli civilians, and treat casualties? The military operations, security barrier, disengagement from Gush Katif, and Iron Dome all cost millions of dollars.
“Peace Now” claims that while Bennet is offering Palestinians in Area C Israeli citizenship,it will not stop the Palestinian’s claim for a state. I wonder where they learned that from? Perhaps from radical Israeli Arab MK’s such as Ahmad Tibi, or Hanin Zoabi?
Again and again, “Peace Now” advocated that the only solution is a peace agreement; however, now they are rejecting one. It seems like they refuse to cope with reality. Even the Netanyahu government has tried time and time again to call Abbas to the negotiation table, but Abbas refused. This effort by Netanyahu includes the famous Bar-Ilan speech (where he proposed the two-state solution) and the ten month building freeze. Despite all of this, none of Netanyahu’s calls to initiate peace talks were answered. Furthermore, not even Olmerts’ or Livni’s efforts to reach an agreement were answered by Abbas. Bennet is proposing an alternative plan to the right wing’s dream of the full sovereignty over the land of Israel: I wonder – does the radical left have a plan B?